COTPA Contravention: Hookah Banned in Karnataka

Citing health and fire safety concerns, the Karnataka Government has banned the sale and consumption of hookah with immediate effect.

Last year, it was announced in the winter session of the Legislative Assembly that measures would soon be taken to regulate hookah bars considering that over 100 cases have been filed against hookah bars since 2020.

In the notification dated February 7, 2024, the Health and Family Welfare Department of the state referred to how hookah bars pose a fire hazard and violate the state fire control and safety laws. Emphasis was laid on the adverse effects of hookah consumption on public health, apart from leading to the spread of infectious diseases. Attention was also drawn to the 2016-17 survey to depict that 22.8% of adults (aged 15 years and above) in the state use tobacco. The Government quoted various provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA), in its notification. For instance, hookah tobacco falls within the ambit of “tobacco products” as per Section 3(p) read with the Schedule to the said Act.

Further, it was stated, “In general, the sale, consumption, and advertising of hookah products known as hookah tobacco or nicotine-containing nicotine-free tobacco-free, flavored, unflavored hookah molasses, shisha and other similar names and the producing, procuring, trading of the same has been banned with immediate effect in the interest of public health in the state”.

In case of any violation, action would be taken under COTPA, 2003, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, Karnataka Poisons (Possession and Sale) Rules, 2015, and the Indian Penal Code, 1860.